TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corp. has enhanced its “flotation process” to improve metal recovery, even as it announced an 18-percent rise in core net income to P458 million for the first quarter, although partly offset by “lower metal output” brought about by “less operating days,” and as it continued to do its fair share in nation-building.
In its April 26 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the gold-and-copper producer said Padcal, its sole operating mine located in this province, operated for 88 days between January and March, milling 1.998 million metric tons of ore as against the 2.325 mmt a year earlier.
“The lower tonnage was affected by less operating days and equipment availability issues,” it stressed. “The Company initiated measures to improve metal recovery, by enhancing the flotation process, to offset the lower milling tonnage.”
The company’s senior metallurgist, Frederick Remolana, said in an interview that the miner has since used better reagents that are also biodegradable as well as implemented other operational improvements to achieve better metal recovery.
He added that flotation produces metals in the form of copper and gold concentrates at the mill by separating valuable minerals from the gangue, or impurities, in the ore.
The company, meanwhile, contributed P473 million to nation-building in the form of taxes, fees, and other monetary amounts for community development and environmental protection. Taxes due to national and local governments alone reached P250 million while various fees and withholding taxes amounted to P111 million.
“In addition, P64 million was spent for reinforcing and further strengthening existing pollution-control devices to ensure the safe quality of air and water resources at all times as well as to maintain proper waste management within the mine site and around its host and neighboring communities,” the company also said in its SEC filing.
Another P23 million was spent by the company for the first three months to sustain its implementation of social projects, including free health-care services, education assistance, livelihood, and public infrastructure in its five outlying communities (both host and neighboring barangays).
“Over and above the healthy financial performance in the first quarter, our commitment to advocate responsible mining, following stringent local and international standards, remains paramount,” Eulalio Austin, Jr., the company’s CEO and president, said in the SEC filing.
He added, “It is for this reason that we continue to roll out the activities we committed under the many agreements we have signed with the government and pursue the initiatives we vowed to provide our host and neighboring communities, in accordance with law, oftentimes exceeding what is required from us.”
The metal recovery rate for copper surged 84 percent during the first quarter from a year earlier as grades improved to 0.209 percent, while recovery rate for gold jumped 83 percent as grades improved to 0.421 grams per ton. First-quarter tonnage yielded 7.752 million pounds of copper and 22,451 ounces of gold, as against 8.425 million pounds and 22,451 ounces, respectively, a year earlier.
Improved metal prices and favorable exchange rates, partly offset by lower metal output, resulted in consolidated revenues of P2.542 billion for the first quarter, as compared to P2.39 billion during the first three months of 2016.
The company’s SEC filing also said that average realized prices for copper and gold reached $2.77 per pound and $1,264 per ounce, respectively, during the first three months, as compared with $2.25 per pound and $1,239 between January and March 2016.
It added, “In addition, the realized foreign exchange rate of US$50.32/PHP1 compared with US$46.90/PHP1 in the same period last year also made a positive contribution.”